Category Archives: sweden

REVIEW: War Injun/Doomdogs 7" split

International penpals were once a method people had to learn about other cultures. Maryland’s War Injun and Sweden’s Doomdogs have created such a dialog with their new 7″ split released by Svart Records. In this case, however, it’s a dialog of doom.

War Injun describe themselves as power doom, though I’d put them squarely in the stoner rock category along with Pentagram and similar. This band is all about the riff delivered expertly by Kenny Staubs and Dave Morgan. Their rhythm section, which consists of JB Matson and Tony Comulada, lays down a crushingly heavy foundation for every song.

Their contribution to the split is the previously unreleased “Smokethrower” featuring former singer JD Williams. Vocal duties were recently filled by Jack Roemer (also of Tank Murdock and formerly of Dead Men Sway). During some recent live performances Roemer, no doubt by some shamanistic spell, has been able to make War Injun’s lyrics even more thunderous than they were with Williams.

“Smokethrower” is most definitely a rockin’ tune featuring rapid-fire verses halted by a more ponderous chorus. The varied pace adds drama.  The guitar tone is flawless, obliterating everything in its path. It’s a fitting swan song for Williams and a great showcase for the talents that remain in War Injun.

On the flipside, we have “Oceans of Despair” from Doomdogs, who  play somewhat more melodic doom, but their sound is definitely companionable with War Injun.  Vocalist Tomas “GG” Eriksson projects the lyrics with a kind of raw operatic flare over the powerful riffage provided by guitarist Christer Cuñat, whose solos are reminiscent of 70s blues-rock. The song features an extended funky jam segment with a fat bass and sizzling lead. The tune marches to its somewhat untimely end, whereupon the song seems to abruptly fall apart. Except for this unsettling conclusion, “Oceans of Despair” is a stellar response to War Injun’s call on the other side.  Former member Emil Rolof is featured on drums and Patrik Andersson Winberg on bass, who is set to perform his last gig with the group on April 6.

War Injun’s drummer explained that the split came about because the two groups were fans of each other music. “We actually hooked up with Doomdogs through Facebook,” Matson said. (Well, doesn’t everyone?)

The split has also become something of a promo for a Doomdogs/War Injun tour slated for late summer. And for War Injun, at least, it offered a means to transition into writing and recording with their new singer.

“We are nearly done with the writing process for our next full length ‘Left For The Wolves’, which will be released before August,” Matson said. “Jack is working out tremendously. War Injun is without a doubt, the most solid of a unit as it has ever been. We have already written five new songs with this lineup, and it’s the best music we have ever written. The 2013 Summer Tour starts August 2 in Fort Worth, Texas and continues through August 11 from Texas to Florida and then straight up the East Coast. Leather Nun America (California) are touring with us, and if all things work out, so will Doomdogs.” 

Check out both songs below. 

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Arckanum to release Fenriz Kindir in May

Swedish black metal project Arckanum will be putting out a new album called Fenriz Kindir (that is, Fenriz’s Children) on May 14 with Season of Mist.

Fenriz Kindir coming soon from Arckanum
Check out this intense album art! 
According to band founder Shamaatae, “This album is a dedication to the flaming giant-wolf, son of Loki; created from the Chaos-fires of Múspellsheimr. It is a tribute to the wrathful giant-wolf, son of Angrboða, found in the Ironwood where he is breeding hordes of giant monstrous wolves with Angrboða. His victorious name is Fenrir, also called Tungls Tjúgari! Hail Fenrir!”

He continues: “The sounds and music on this album are my auditory vision of the march of Fenrir convoyed with his hordes of giant wolves from the depths of the underworld to face Ragna Rök with warlike glory – deformed giant-wolves swarming in thousands.”
Be still my nerdy, little  black metal heart. This recording looks like it’s going to be the soundtrack to that Norse Literature course I devoured in college. 
Shamaatae explains:  The Old Norse saga Völuspá (40-41) says, ‘In the east of the Ironwood (Járnviðr) she the Old One (Angrboða) sat and there bore Fenrir’s Kin (Fenris kindir). One of which became the most worthy of them all, the One taking down the sun/moon with a two-pronged pitchfork (tungls tjúgari), in a troll’s shape. He fills his belly with the corpses of dead men and defiles the houses of gods with blood. The sun’s beams blacken during summers and the weather grows stormy.’ The later saga Gylfaginning (51) reveals Fenrir’s flaming Múspell-descent during Ragna Rök: ‘Fenrir shall advance with gaping mouth, and his lower jaw shall be against the earth, but the upper against heaven, he would gape yet more if there were room for it; fires blaze from his eyes and nostrils… The Sons of Múspell shall go forth to that field which is called Vígríðr, thither shall come Fenrir also…'”
I like when a songwriter provides you with the citations from the literature. Do go on….
“This is my tribute to the wrathful, harsh and untamed anti-nature of Fenrir’s mighty essence! The anti-cosmic enemy of the worlds! Heill Tungls Tjúgari! Heilir Fenris Synir!”
Ok, so listeners will be immersed in some themes of deep Norse mythology. What about the music? What should we expect from the talented and mysterious Arckanum. Nothing but magic. Check out the guest players on each track!
The track listing and guest players for Fenriz Kindir are as follows: 
1. Fenris Kindir Grúa
2. Tungls Tjúgari: Peter Asp, horns.
3. Dólgrinn
4. Hatarnir: Lena Klarström: female vocals; Peter Asp: howling guitars.
5. Hamrami: Ljuder-Stefan Westberg: horns and violins.
6. Fenris Gangr
7. Vargøld: Olof Lindberg and Peter Asp: chorus and horns.
8. Angrboða: Lena Klarström: female vocals.
9. Úskepna
10. Spell
11. Sólbøls Sigr: Ljuder-Stefan Westberg: keyed fiddle (nyckelharpa) and violins.
12. Lycanthropia [Necromantia cover, bonus track on digital and LP editions]

My birthday is in May. I know what I will be reserving for myself. I can’t wait. 

Here’s a track from Arckanum’s last recording from 2011.

Graveyard’s bassist heads to rehab

Graveyard, that beautiful Swedish concoction of blues, metal and fuzzy guitar distortion, have decided to give their bandmate, bassist Rikard Edlund, the time he needs to get clean from addiction. The group just posted the statement below on their Facebook page
Rikard Edlund of Graveyard. Photo by M. Spiro
I saw Graveyard here in Baltimore back in January at Golden West Cafe. It was among the best shows I have seen this year. You can read a little about that show here
Graveyard also just released a new album, Lights Out, and as you will read, they fully intend to tour in support of their record with a temporary replacement for Edlund. I hope Rikard gets the help he needs so he can get back to making music. I love Graveyard a lot so I wish him and the band the best as they power through this tough time. What follows is the Graveyard statement on this matter.

It’s not only rock ‘n’ roll.

Sometimes in life you have to make decisions that are neither simple or easy to make. Graveyard have – after a time filled with difficulties and a search for solutions – been forced to make such a decision. Due to personal problems with addiction, it has come to the point where Rikard, to get the proper help, will have to take a break from touring with the band. Rikard is without a doubt still a member of Graveyard, but as things are at the moment it just doesn’t work and something has to be done. The other members give Rikard their full support and the time off needed to try to beat this. 

How this will affect the band – it is agreed upon by all four members that the show will go on and to do so the band will tour with a stand in bass player. This has been a far from easy decision to make and the timing isn’t the best. But Graveyard as a band has it’s mind set on being around for a long time to come. And looking at it from that perspective and Rikard’s personal health this is the only option. 

This is all the band have got to say about this somewhat personal matter and we’ll give the final words to Rikard himself:
“After living the hard life for most of my life. It has come to the point that I have to take a break from playing the music that I love.’

Countdown to MDF X: (12) Demonical

With a playful name like Demonical, I wanted this band to be more of a lighthearted romp through death metal. I wanted them to be D’ Monocle and play snooty gentlemen’s death core.

Well, Demonical is not playful and does not do such silly things. This is brutal, eviscerating Swedish death metal. They will obliterate their audience on Sunday afternoon outside, May 27, at the the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. Those driving overhead on I-83 during their set, on their way home from church, will likely mutter a prayer and cross themselves for protection when they hear Demonical perform.

Demonical is Sverker Widgren (vocals). Johan Jansson (guitars), Pablo Magallanes (guitars), Martin Schulman (bass) and Fredrik Widigs (drums). They will do a short US tour leading up to MDF, stopping in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Parma (Ohio), then head back to Europe for a lengthier summer tour. You can read some up-to-the-minute news on them at their Facebook page.

Death Infernal is Demonical’s most recent recording effort, though they have been busy working and releasing music since their inception in 2006. Demonical gives us everything we love about death metal: epic melodies, sizzling guitar solos, pounding rhythms, growling aggressive vocals. I challenge you to quickly learn these songs so that you can pump your fist in the air and sing along during their set.

Some of their songs remind me of Amon Amarth except perhaps with a slight technical death metal influence. I love Amon Amarth, so to me, that’s an excellent thing. Demonical delivers the death metal that makes you remember why come to the Maryland Deathfest in the first place.


Countdown to MDF X: (42) Nasum

When someone dies suddenly, it often leaves those left behind with a sense that things were left unfinished. This is how Sweden’s Nasum on their website described their state of mind for the last seven years since the tragic death of their frontman Mieszko Talarczyk in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.

This year, however, the remaining members of the grindcore group have decided to reform one last time with Keijo Niinimaa  from Rotten Sound on vocals and complete the work their late friend had started. So the band’s performance Friday, May 25 at the Maryland Deathfest will be bittersweet. The MDF X appearance falls right in the middle of  about 27 confirmed dates of their Farewell Tour throughout Europe and North America. Their final show will be at Wacken in August.

Nasum formed in 1992.  The song in the video here, “Wrath,” was taken from the 2004 album Shift and is reportedly the band’s only music video.

Here’s the line-up for Nasum 2012: Anders Jakobson – drums, Jesper Liveröd – bass and low vocals , Jon Lindqvist – guitars and low vocals, Urban Skytt – guitars, and Keijo Niinimaa – vocals.

 
Photo by Terése Andersson

Countdown to MDF X: (47) Setherial

Sometimes it is best to listen to a band without the distractions of the visuals presented in a storyline video. That is what I had to do with Setherial, a Swedish black metal band founded in 1993. I prefer to just listen to Setherial’s excellent musicianship without watching their videos. The reason being, that in some cases, corpse paint, maggots and flaming skulls can become a bit overwhelming. Don’t show me how brutal you are, prove it to me with your music. Setherial does so!

Setherial plays that kind of fast guitar picking, melodic, blast beat driven kind of black metal that I favor. Their earlier recordings, such as 1996 Nord,  follow the minimalistic aural aesthetic of their black metal peers, while more recent albums, such as the 2010 Ekpyrosis, demonstrate a more lush, produced sound. Yet they never waver in their extreme brutality. Dark, grim, atmospheric and demonic and dare I say it, even EPIC compositions–Setherial delivers all that and more. If you are familiar with extreme groups like Tsjuder and Gorgoroth, you will appreciate Setherial.

Members include Infaustus (vocals), Kraath (guitar) and Mysteriis (drums). I know there is another member in Setherial but I cannot confirm who that person is. Setherial’s website lists Thurz, Metal Archives lists Empyion and Wikipedia lists Funestus! Whoever they bring, I am sure they will be exciting to watch! They perform Friday evening, May 25 at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Graveyard resurrects psychedelic garage rock for the end of days

If you were one of those kids who snuck a listen to your parent’s 70s psychedelic rock records (think Cream, Hot Tuna, Blue Cheer on vinyl) then you’ll be glad to know that a host of musicians are re-interpreting that groove for the 21st century. Three such groups played a sold-out show at Baltimore’s Golden West Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012: Sweden’s Graveyard, Iowa’s Radio Moscow and Daniel Davies of Los Angeles.

While so many bands today are lured into using sampled sounds and synthesizers, it feels good to just bask in the aural presence of that fuzzy, stripped down sound upon which my own musical sensibilities were nourished and weaned. And clearly I am not alone, since Golden West was packed with fans of the genre who were enthusiastic as I was.

Before the show started I had a few minutes to chat with members of Graveyard. Every show so far on their tour has sold out starting with a 600 capacity venue in New York City. Bassist Rikard Edlund showed me his Blue Cheer tattoo (“My first tattoo!” he said), a clear indication of his permanent devotion to the musical style. Neither he nor drummer Axel Sjöberg really understood why this type of music seems to be making a comeback.

“Maybe it’s time,” Edlund said. “It’s been 40 years. People are realizing how great it is and it is time to bring it back.”

“I hope it never stops!” Sjöberg added.

The show got rolling with Daniel Davies, who presented a solid set. I had never heard them before, but Davies was a perfect complement for what was to come. Here’s a sample:

Next up was Radio Moscow. Apparently this group has had a bit of a personnel “shake up” in recent days that left lead singer and guitarist Parker Griggs with a hefty gash on his forehead and 14 nasty looking stitches. The current rhythm section consisting of Billy Ellsworth on bass and Lonnie Blanton on drums have only been playing for a week, but that fact was not apparent. Radio Moscow certainly picked up new fans from Baltimore.

I spoke with Griggs after the show. I recorded it, so rather than me type all that out, why don’t you give a listen and hear what he has to say for himself. Griggs provided me with a copy of his new CD, “The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz.” I will review it in the near future. Do yourself a favor and go see the new and improved Radio Moscow. Great sounds, great guys.
INTERVIEW: Parker Griggs of Radio Moscow 1-15-12 by MetalMaven
Graveyard’s show was everything I expected and more. The sound in Golden West was surprisingly clear, which was a happy discovery since I was a little worried about how it might be, the place being a restaurant and all. Joakim Nilsson’s vocals sounded just as bluesy and soulful as in studio recordings. The stage was small and barely large enough to contain the four of them but they managed. The melody interplay between Nilsson and lead guitarist Jonatan Larocca Grimm was perfect. Sjöberg is a bat-shit crazy good drummer that pulls a large sound out of a fairly minimalistic kit. And bassist Edlund blew everyone away with his aggressive and frenetic technique on songs like “Ain’t Fit to Live Here.”

The entire show was my “favorite” since this band evokes such visceral musical memories from my childhood (I was that 3-year-old who listened to Cream), but highlights included “Satan’s Finest” and “The Siren.” Along with the fantastic music, the entire show was accompanied by a good old-fashioned colored-water and oil, overhead projector light show courtesy of “Lance.” Groovy man.

Graveyard plays Washington DC’s DC9 Club January 16 and then move on to Richmond and North Carolina and points west before heading back over to Europe. If they come within 200 miles, I recommend you make the pilgrimage to see them, as well as Radio Moscow and Daniel Davies. And don’t forget to wear your fringed leather vest.

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